The granddad remains in hospital. There’s so many things wrong that personally I just want them to get him home so he can die here and not in some heartless, horrible ward in a heartless, horrible hospital.
While discussing The Departed and watching The West Wing with my dad, he made the following remark: “Martin Sheen has nice hair. I’ve always said so. He always wears it very well.” This remark would be particularly odd, except that my dad has never had exceptional hair. While his sister still has this great bush of dark curly hair, his is curly but has been thin and bare since I’ve known him. Still, it was a weird conversation to have. I miss The West Wing, by the way. Somehow, I miss it more than I miss Friends, perhaps because for all Friends’ brilliance, it was confection. The West Wing on the other hand, was the greatest TV drama ever made, by anyone anywhere any time. There was just a show on Channel 4 which voted it something like third or fourth, but I know the truth. It is better than The Boys From the Black Stuff (number two) and The Sopranos (number one). You know why? Because more than anything else I’ve ever seen on TV, The West Wing has given me a way to understand my own thoughts and it has given me hope that there are some people on both sides who care passionately about giving the rest of us a better life. There’s no price on that.
I’ve finally bought a new computer and Alienware (recced by my brother- anyone know anything either way about these folks?) are building it as I write (not literally, it’s quarter past midnight). It has Vista, so fuck knows which of my programs will work- I don’t even know where the disc for my screenwriting program is, although I’ve not used it in months, so perhaps it’s moot.
Actually, it’s not moot because I started writing a movie the other day. Now I know what you’re thinking, and it probably won’t get finished and almost certainly won’t see the light of day, let alone get made, but it’s either a TV drama (which I’m only thinking cos of the Best TV Dramas thing I was watching just now!) or a movie and it’s basically a remake of Camille.
Which leads me very neatly to Valentino. I realised the other day that for all my swooning over The Sheik and the ‘my God, I never realised the point about Valentino until now!’ nonsense, I’ve actually had a Valentino movie hanging around for months. Literally months, and I knew it when I bought it. The silent 1921 Alla Nazimova-Rudolph Valentino version of Camille is the special feature on the Greta Garbo-Robert Taylor talking Camille which I have seen and liked… and I knew because it was one of the things that made me finally buy the Garbo boxset when it finally came down from 60/70 quid to a more civilised thirty. I knew and I just didn’t pay a second’s notice until the other day.
I wrote an introduction to a London based rom-com type thing a few weeks ago after getting so pissed off with the sense in Working Title and its ilk that only rich people can be seen in romcoms, that the only people worth knowing about live in Notting Hill or Hampstead and every fucker goes to Primrose Hill. I’ve never been to Primrose Hill and I don’t intend to. No matter how rich I might one day be, I have no intention of living west of Hyde Park. Hell, I don’t anticipate living in W11 or any NW postcode. Just not my scene, you dig? Anyway, I had no actual story to go along with it, but after seeing the Valentino Camille, I think I might.
Anyway… this Valentino fellow has not been out of my head. I awoke this morning to discover my DVDs had not arrived, and I found myself in despair. It’s just not right, is it? Many thoughts have come to me since I first saw The Sheik and well, chief amongst them is this: I don’t even know what he sounds like. I don’t know what his voice was like, whether it was deep or high, whether his Italian accent was particularly thick. I’ve come to associate it somehow with Mario Lanza, which is ridiculous on a number of levels, but it’s what was on my iPod a lot last week and so there I am, listening to Lanza, a once in a century voice, thinking of someone who might have sounded instead like Joe Dolce. Still, as Valentino himself said, he’s the canvas upon which I can paint my dreams. I found a link to his recording of the poem used in The Sheik on wikipedia and I haven’t brought myself to click it yet.
There’s nothing worse than broken dreams, because within them is the lack of hope.
Still, one of the reasons I suppose I’ve always clung to my dead heroes is that they can no longer disappoint me, nor can they hurt me. That’s a theory that sometimes bites me in the arse, but it usually works. I refuse currently to read things about Valentino, which is unusual for me. Usually I try to learn everything I can, but for once, no. It’s partly to stop this getting any worse but also because I don’t want to be disappointed by another one. Actually, I take back the remark at the start of this paragraph- they can and routinely do disappoint me. I suspect that Valentino has been given to me as a distraction from the reality of my life right now, and I’m not going to spit in the face of that by learning he was whatever he really was.
Anyway, I’m writing stuff these days, but until I get my new computer, pay yet more money for new Office, with this fucked up temporary keyboard I can’t really type any of it up to even share with friends let alone anyone who’d get it out there. One day, I might actually get some of these thoughts I have into the public arena. Whether anyone gives a fuck remains to be seen. I hope they do.